Time for Villa to Lower the Odds on Set Pieces?

 

Does anyone else remember a time under the reins of Martin O’Neill when Villa led the league in goals from set pieces?

Laursen, Dunne, Collins, Zak Knight and Carew, all  used get their head on deliveries from Young, Downing and Milner consistently to provide a high-yielding route to goals. So why is it only Norwich has scored fewer goals from set pieces than the Villa this season?

 

Premier League Situational Statistics

Goal Types

(Best viewed on bigger screen devices)

R

Team

Open Play

C-Attack

Set Piece

Penalty

Own Goal

1

Liverpool

44

8

19

8

3

2

Manchester City

47

3

17

5

4

3

Fulham

13

1

12

2

2

4

Southampton

29

2

12

2

0

5

Everton

28

1

12

2

0

6

Chelsea

39

4

12

5

2

7

Cardiff

14

0

11

0

1

8

Hull

17

2

9

2

2

9

Tottenham

21

4

8

4

3

10

Sunderland

11

3

8

4

0

11

Manchester United

35

1

8

3

1

12

Swansea

24

0

7

2

7

13

Stoke

24

1

7

3

1

14

Arsenal

41

3

6

3

0

15

Newcastle United

26

3

6

2

1

16

West Ham

22

2

6

1

1

17

West Bromwich Albion

23

0

6

2

2

18

Aston Villa

21

4

5

2

1

19

Crystal Palace

9

1

5

4

0

20

Norwich

20

1

4

1

0

Courtesy of http://www.whoscored.com/

 

The present day Villa don’t exactly have a small team either with the likes of Baker, Vlaar, Clark, Benteke, and for a time this season Kozák, all ranging from 6ft to 6ft 4”. So then why are we not the set piece threat of old?

Part of the reason may be down to the fact that only Man City gets fouled fewer than the Villa. Gone are the days when we had Ashley ‘swan dive’ Young flinging himself everywhere to earn free kicks. Even so, with the pace our team possesses you would think we would be getting fouled a lot more. Maybe Villa’s players are too earnest or the referees aren’t always too obliging – after all, it seems poor old Benteke needs to be punched square in the face before the referee will even consider giving a foul.

The biggest reason for the lack of goals from set pieces though lies in the standard of delivery. In years gone by, the likes Young and Downing would whip vicious balls into the area just begging to be attacked. With Young especially, if there wasn’t a Villa player on the end of it, there was always a chance of an own goal or the ball going directly in due to the melee his deliveries would cause. Now however, the corners and free kicks are floated in by Westwood and are a lot easier to defend and you’d have a better chance of success spinning a roulette wheel.

In fact, Westwood’s deliveries seem designed for his teammates to win the second ball rather than attacking the first, which certainly lengthens the odds for success.

I am not slating Westwood at all, as I believe he is brilliant at what he does and keeps the Villa ticking over. But the set piece department is not where he should ply his trade. It was the same story with the deliveries of little Barry Bannan which were gently floated into the area too.

Annoyingly the solution for this problem lies in the current Villa squad. Amazingly Villa has a dead ball specialist playing week in week out; I don’t know if you’ve noticed that Bacuna is actually quite good at free kicks. So surely a player that can scream a ball top corner from a free kick can whip a deadly ball into the box from a corner to make the most out of Villa’s big men? In open play only perhaps Lowton and Albrighton can conjure up balls with any attacking intent, so the importance of gaining increased advantage from deadball situations is of paramount importance.

So please Lambert put our little Dutch dead ball specialist on all set pieces from now on and let’s create a new attacking threat. Give us fans some general belief that when we roar for a corner that there’s a chance we actually might get something from it. It’ll also give opposing defences something to think about once again and the added pressure is always likely to lead to mistakes too.

With Manchester United’s defence less than assured in recent weeks, Saturday would be a good time to start.

UTV

 

Follow MOMS on Twitter – @oldmansaid

Follow Ashley on Twitter – @bannyboy95

 

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8 COMMENTS

  1. winning 50% of throw ins aint good but is an improvement as I’m sure the last few seasons it was worse !

  2. I’ve noted this all season, the floated corner has resulted in sod all. During the Norwich game a corner was whipped in rather than floated and Benteke attacked it and scored. We need to play to our strengths, as is mentioned in this article with several tall players, and I agree when a change in set piece tactics is encouraged. Furthermore, I swear when we have a throw in we lose it 50% of the time which is disturbing. Lambert may have strengths when we play some of the bigger teams but sometimes you just have to work on your basics.

  3. Stats don’t lie ? Stats tell what ever the story teller wants them to tell !
    As for Villa’s defence not coming forward , do you actually watch Villa play ?
    And what is this belligerent coaching style spoken of ? And can it lead to Villa having to endure so many fouls ?

    • Normally stats = facts. If Villa have only scored 5 goals from set pieces, that tells its own story and doesn’t need a storyteller!

  4. could it be the one of the least fouled stats is due to the belligerent coaching style which dictates that Villa defenders, particularly the full backs remain in their own half, therefore denying sufficient pace and pressure out wide in the opponents half. Comparatively more fouls are committed by defending teams due to pressure from opponents however Villa play with little width and pace that opponents often outnumber our forward three anyway so they are easily able to counter our threat without resorting to foul play.

    Secondly, we will continue to fail to score from dead ball situations until a) we vary the type of delivery into the box (b) we set up with something that resembles a set piece routine other than vaguely jostling/pulling / being in the box…..good players will make space, create opportunities for self or OTHERS. Coaching staff please note…..there are any number of set pieces available rather than using the well worn look like an average lower level Sunday league by just standing around vaguely in the box. Stats don’t lie….worst premier league team in the past five seasons for failing to score /efforts on target……ridiculous. Coaches start earning your money, also the guy who does the stats for player performance needs to review his set up as it is inexcusable that AV does so poorly from dead ball situations with little sign of improvement??

  5. I am glad someone has finally brought this topic of corner kicks up i totally agree that Westwoods outside of the boot hanging corners are of no particular use to nobody but the opposing defenders or goalkeeper.Benteke could profit more from whipped in corners and not on top of the keeper either and also Vlaar may well get his head on a outswinging whipped cross after all most games our corner count is relatively low so we need to start making more of these opportunities.

  6. think you’ve hit on the answer to the question in the 2nd paragraph when you mention that only ManC have been more fouled against than Villa , And that’s only the recorded fouls . There are also many times that Villa players are restrained & the culprits go unpunished
    Maybe some of the set pieces could be better , but even Bacuna muffed his shot on goal last Sunday . But the real reason is that other clubs have realised how they might be punished by setpiece experts such as Villa, & have changed their teams to counter that happening

    As for ManU on Saturday let’s wait & see what team Lambert put’s out . But their fans are not confident of a win judging by the conversation I had today . Especially as their only threat might be from Rooney shooting @ long range

    • The team that Lambert put out allowed Rooney free headers from a mere six or so yards out! No long distance shooting needed.

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